Magnesium for Athletes: Go for Gold
There has always been a link between fitness and Magnesium, but how important is Magnesium for athletes really?
Let us explore the facts around this mineral and enlighten you on what the optimal intake of Magnesium for athletes is… and how to achieve it!
Magnesium for Athletes - How Does it Boost Performance?
There have been numerous studies performed on the correlation between an athletes performance, and their intake of various vitamins, minerals and supplements, with many focusing on magnesium for athletes. But before we jump this hurdle, we need to know a little more about this magical mineral, Magnesium.
Do you Know What Magnesium is?
And did you know that almost all our cells contain it, and that it is the fourth most prevalent mineral in our bodies? (2) Your body contains roughly 50% Magnesium in its bones, with the same in your organs and cells and a miniscule amount (less than 1%) found in your blood… What makes Magnesium for athletes so important is that you store 30% of it in your muscles.
What does Magnesium actually do? Our bodies can’t function without this vital mineral, the second most abundant divalent cation within our cells. It plays an essential role in more than 300 metabolic processes reactions in your body, among them:
- Protein synthesis
- Producing and storing cellular energy
- Growth and reproduction of cells
- Deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid fusion (3).
- Keeps nerves and muscles functioning normally
- The heart's rhythm (cardiac excitability)
- Vasomotor tone
- Blood pressure
- Immune system
- Osteo Integrity
- The blood glucose level
- Calcium absorption is enhanced (3-4).
The importance of Magnesium for athletes comes to the fore when you realise that it is needed for all types of energy that your body produces, both aerobic and anaerobic (with or without 0²). In addition to its role in muscle contraction and relaxation, magnesium is required to form endogenous protein (protein derived from the body rather than dietary sources). It is also crucial to bone and tooth formation and is involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.
How does this translate to the importance of Magnesium for athletes and other physically active individuals?
What is the Importance of Magnesium for Athletes?
Several scientific studies have shown that your magnesium requirements increase the harder you train or the more active you are.(3) It has been proved that there is a link between increased levels in the blood and enhanced muscle performance, including greater leg strength. So by ensuring adequate Mg intake, you will be able to optimise your performance... But what actually happens?
Studies have proven that:
- It appears that Magnesium lowers the lactate levels in your blood.(6) When you train hard your muscles produce a metabolite called lactic acid that slows down recovery and growth. A build up of this causes fatigue and limits muscle performance.
- Your body uses more oxygen and your heartbeat increases without enough Mg.
- The mineral is also essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. As an antioxidant, it strengthens your defences and protects you from disease.
Increased Magnesium for Athletes Can Be Helpful
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that the recommended intake for healthy adult females is between 300 and 320 mg daily, while adult males should get 400 to 420 mg of magnesium daily.(3)
In most cases, a balanced diet is enough to meet this requirement. It is however not enough for athletes or individuals that exercise often. A physically demanding job or a very active lifestyle are other case studies that will benefit from a supplementary intake of Magnesium for optimum performance. Magnesium is a necessity for people who often experience major stress, consult a physician for requirements.(4)
For athletes who want to perform at their best, adequate Magnesium levels are essential. In spite of a careful diet, many people are lacking in magnesium, as the amount of magnesium in farm soil has decreased by 30% in the last fifty years(7).
Choosing the right Magnesium supplement for your needs is vital. University of Reading researchers found that Magnesium Citrate has the highest bioavailability(8), but taken in liquid form, Magnesium Bisglycinate can substitute for sensitive individuals. Avoid Magnesium Oxide as it is badly absorbed but rather look for a good quality rub or gel, focusing on muscles in need of added support.
Magnesium for Athletes: Reaching the Finish Line
An athlete must function at their best and Magnesium is vital for top performers. Magnesium will not only improve your performance, but it will also prevent injuries that can torpedo or even end an athlete's career.
Your recovery times, athletic capacity, and energy levels will all improve as a result. Try it for yourself and see for yourself just how great this mineral is!
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28846654/ - National Library of Medicine
- Current Sports Medicine Reports: July/August 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 4 - p 279-283, doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000178 - https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2015/07000/magnesium_and_the_athlete.8.aspx
- United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Available from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2.
- Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv. Nutr. 2013; 4: 378S–83.
- Littlefield N.A., Hass B.S., McGarrity L.J., Morris S.M. Effect of magnesium on the growth and cell cycle of transformed and non-transformed epithelial rat liver cells in vitro. Cell Biol. Toxicol. 1991;7:203–214. - PubMed
- The effect of magnesium supplementation on lactate levels of sportsmen and sedanter - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17063625/
- Author not cited. “Vegetables Without Vitamins.” Life Extension Magazine. March, 2001.
- Walker, AF. et al. “Mg citrate found more bioavailable than other Mg preparations in a randomized, double blind study.” University of Reading. 16, September 2003.